Until very recently, in all my twenty-one years of life I couldn’t honestly say I’d ever made a proper roast dinner. Many student houses choose to make a roast dinner together, but some students, like me, are daunted by the task of having so many dishes to perfect. So this weekend, I wanted to see how easy (or difficult) it would be to make a roast dinner with absolutely no experience, and record the results for posterity. This is how I made the dinner for four people, step-by-step, so if there are a few of you making a dish each it should be even easier!

For all of the ingredients I paid £18.13 in Morrisons, which, when split between four or more of you really isn’t very much!

 (Serves 4)

For the chicken:

  • 1 whole chicken (for four of us I got a 1.4kg one, which really could have done five or six) (1.4 kg for £4)
  • 2 tsp of cumin seeds (37g for 67p)
  • 3 tsp dried coriander (Rajah ground coriander 64p for 100g)
  • 2 veg stock cubes (77p for 12)
  • 1 chicken stock cube (77p for 12)
  • 1 onion, chopped (3 for 67p)
  • 2 tsp chopped garlic (Very Lazy Chopped Garlic 200g jar for £1.47)
  • 2 tsp chopped red chilli (Very Lazy Red Chilli 115g jar for £1.47)

Roast potatoes:

  • 5 palm sized potatoes (350g peeled potatoes for 60p)
  • 2 tsp coriander
  • 2 tsp cooking oil

Pigs in blankets:

  • 8 thin sausages (8 Richmond Caramelised Onion Pork Sausages for £2)
  • 16 slices of streaky bacon (16 slices Smoked Streaky Bacon for £1.97)

Yorkshire pudding:

  • 120 grams plain flour (500g for 41p)
  • Good pinch of salt
  • 300 ml/½  pint milk (Whole Milk 1 Pint/568ml for 45p)
  • 1 egg (6 medium free range eggs for 87p)

Sides:

  • 20 brussels sprouts (500g for £1)
  • 8 carrots (500g for 37p)

Equipment:

  • Roasting dish for the chicken
  • 12 hole muffin tin for the Yorkshires
  • 3 oven-proof dishes for the stuffing, pigs in blankets and roast potatoes
  • 1 saucepan for the vegetables

Method:

The night before your roast, you’ll want to marinade your chicken to ensure the meat is full of flavour (if you forget to do this the night before, a couple of hours before you start cooking should be fine).

  1. Remove the chicken from its packaging and give it a rinse under the tap, and then place it into the dish you wish to cook it in. Evenly sprinkle the cumin seeds, dried coriander, chopped onion, garlic and chillies over the outside and inside of the chicken, and rub it well into the flesh. Boil around 300ml of water, and dissolve your stock cubes in this. Let the stock cool before pouring it into the dish along with the chicken. Cover it with cling film and leave it in the fridge.
  2. Next, cut your potatoes into quarters and boil them for around 10 minutes until they are a little soft, but still hard.

If you decided you want to make your own Yorkshire puddings, congratulations! This is probably the trickiest part, but it’s always fun to try out if you want a bit of a challenge. As Yorkshires need to rise in the oven, the door cannot be opened during cooking. This means you’ll have to cook them before the rest of the dinner and heat it up once you are ready to serve.

  1. Heat the oven to 230°, and put the flour, salt and egg into a large bowl. Gradually whisk the milk into the mixture, until you have a nicely consistent gloopy mix.
  2. Pour a fair amount of oil into the bottom of each hole of the muffin tin, and place it in the oven to heat. After a few minutes the oil will be smoking, at which point it will be ready. Quickly pour the Yorkshire mixture into the holes, filling each hole half way. Put it straight back in the oven after this, and don’t open the door again. Bake them for 30 minutes.

Once you have removed the Yorkshires, turn the heat down to 190° and place the chicken in the oven, on a shelf in the middle. It will need to cook for around 55 mins per kilo, with an extra 25 mins on top. So for my 1.4kg chicken, I cooked it for 2 hours in total. Remember to spoon the stock over the top of chicken every 30 minutes or so throughout cooking. From now, you’ll need to concentrate on fitting the rest of the cooking into these two hours so that all the food is ready together.

  1. Now for the roast potatoes. Place the par-boiled potatoes into an oven-proof dish and pour a good amount of oil onto them. Sprinkle with a large pinch of salt, the coriander, and some of the juices from the chicken.
  2. Once the chicken has been cooking for an hour, the skin should be quite crispy, so move it to the bottom of the oven and cover very loosely with tin foil. On a shelf above it, put the potatoes in and cook them with the chicken for the remaining hour.
  3. Next, prepare the pigs in blankets by wrapping each sausage with a slice or two of bacon. Once your potatoes and chicken have 30 minutes left, put the pigs in blankets in an oven-proof dish and place in the oven on the same shelf as the potatoes for the remaining 30 minutes.
  4. Now you can cook your vegetables, make your gravy, lay the table and have a drink if you haven’t already. Boil the sprouts and carrots for around 10 minutes. For the gravy pour the juices of the chicken into a jug, and thicken the juice using 2 tbsp of gravy granules or 2 tsp of cornflour. Check your chicken is cooked properly by spearing the thickest part of the thigh with a skewer, and if the juices run clear, it’s perfect. Don’t forget to reheat your Yorkshires for a few minutes before serving…and that’s it!

Good luck carving the chicken!

Rhiannon Kavanagh

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